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Data Storage Networking IT Your Rights Online

Not Just Paris: Community Activists Target Data Centers (datacenterfrontier.com) 151

1sockchuck writes: This week's case in which a Paris data center lost its license isn't an isolated incident, but the latest in a series of disputes in which community groups have fought data center projects, citing objections to generators or power lines. Data center site selection is often a secretive process, with cloud builders using codenames to cloak their identity. Community groups are using social media, blogs, research and media outreach to bring public attention to the process and voice their concerns. Protests from a Delaware group led to the cancellation of a data center project that planned to build a cogeneration plant. In Virginia, a coalition has organized to oppose a power line for an Amazon Web Services data center. Everyone wants their Internet, just not in their backyard.
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Not Just Paris: Community Activists Target Data Centers

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  • NIMBY (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @09:42AM (#50780499)
    "We want all the best things that modern life has to offer, we just want someone else to have to suffer the minor downsides and mild inconveniences of having things like data centers or power plants or landfills or offshore windmills spoiling our pristine view."
    • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Insightful)

      by FaxeTheCat ( 1394763 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @09:54AM (#50780583)
      There is no reason to build those datacenters in populated areas.
      The very nature of the datacenters is to provide services to remote customers, so datacenters are perfect candidates for being located at a comfortable distance from where people live.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Edge datacenters. Perhaps you've heard of them? They're great for CDNs...

      • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:01AM (#50780617)

        Building a brand new building is not practical for many businesses, and is not cost effective for most.

        It's also not practical or cost effective to build a datacenter that is ONLY a datacenter. It usually makes more sense to have people working there, which means you need qualified tech workers who are willing to commute to wherever your data center is. "unpopulated areas" are not known for this.

        • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Informative)

          by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:04AM (#50780637)

          It's also a major oversight to presume there are no risks to building a data center "out in the sticks". Every cable can be severed. Every mile from the rest of your operations is additional risk.

          • Every cable can be severed. Every mile from the rest of your operations is additional risk.

            Sure, if logic worked that way. It doesn't: if there's a quantifiable risk of someone wanting to cut your cable, that risk doesn't arbitrarily increase because your cable length increases!

            • Are most cables cut intentionally?

              • by afidel ( 530433 )

                In California they have been recently, but more generally it's been backhoes as the biggest risk followed by scrappers mistaking them for metal cables and then homeless peoples fires that get out of control (mostly under bridges over choke points like rivers or canyons).

            • a) Cables are not usually cut intentionally.
              b) Maintenance increases per km.
              c) Construction costs for underground cables are ludicrous.

              C alone is reason not to build a datacentre in the sticks.

          • It does not have to be "out in the sticke". It is just a question of separating housing from industry. With some planning, the distance does not even have to be more than a few hundred meters.
        • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Remember those things called "malls". Well, the stores in them seem to be disappearing at an incredible rate (with good reason) and it's left as a hollow shell that was once a prosperous part of town. Seems like the stores in old malls would be perfect for a datacenter, no?

          • If an old mall were left standing as an empty hulk, maybe.

            What seems to be happening now is that the indoor malls are bulldozed and outdoor malls or cookie-cutter or McMansion housing developments are built.

            • A lot of that has to do with zoning.

              Residential or Commercial zoned land will usually go together pretty well, and it's relatively easy to convert Commercial into Residential.

              Datacenters OTOH usually count as Industrial, which means bigger regulatory hurdles to overcome if you want to convert the land.

          • Remember those things called "malls". Well, the stores in them seem to be disappearing at an incredible rate (with good reason) and it's left as a hollow shell that was once a prosperous part of town. Seems like the stores in old malls would be perfect for a datacenter, no?

            Rackspace bought one in San Antonio a few years ago and turned it into their headquarters and a major datacenter.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          With regards to datacenters, it is usually less practical or cost effective to retrofit an existing building than it is to build a new one.

          For instance, converting an abandoned supermarket requires replacing the glass store front, building extensive interior walls and all new ceilings to shape air flow and limit the volume of conditioned spaces. Exterior walls and roofs have to be re-engineered for security. Exterior flatwork (parking lots, etc.) get dug up provide new fiber and power feeds to the facility.

        • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Interesting)

          by FaxeTheCat ( 1394763 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @02:10PM (#50782745)
          I live 4 minutes drive from an "unpopulated area". There are only offices shops and light industry (and a small datacenter), and it is not a nuisance for anybody.
          "Unpopulated" does not mean it needs to be in the middle of Sahara. It is just that there is a fair distance between the industry and where people live.
        • You're overreacting with your "unpopulated areas". Data centers should be in industrial areas, which are zoned for noise and pollution, and far enough away from residential areas not to bother people. Generally these are located on the outskirts of a town. A distance of 1-2 km from residential areas will suffice for almost every industry. That's within easy commuting range.

      • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:05AM (#50780651)

        So you are ignoring the fact that those data centers need to be built in places with reliable power grids (something you do not tend to get away from population centers), need to be reasonably close to distribution points (to get replacement parts for those computers) and need to have a large enough population base nearby that there will be enough skilled labor to staff the data center.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          So you are ignoring the fact that those data centers need to be built in places with reliable power grids (something you do not tend to get away from population centers), need to be reasonably close to distribution points (to get replacement parts for those computers) and need to have a large enough population base nearby that there will be enough skilled labor to staff the data center.

          Yes, you will have an easier time finding and keeping employees if your business isn't located in the middle of nowhere.

      • Re:NIMBY (Score:5, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:21AM (#50780749) Homepage Journal

        There are good reasons to build them in populated areas, it's just care needs to be taken in terms of their design and their impact on neighbors. We're not talking Nuclear Power plants here, we're looking at something whose only externalities would normally be back-up power and the repercussions of back-up power (today that means fuel and noisy generators that need regular testing)

        I'm inclined to think the industry is failing the rest of us here. We ought to be able to reduce the noise made by generators, but we don't care because... why?

        If the industry refuses to address noise, then yes, it deserves to find itself forced to avail itself of the benefits of operating near civilization. That means less availability of qualified personnel and more expensive infrastructure. But, for crying out loud, can't we just turn down the noise?

        • How about you work to making noiseless generators? Invest in companies creating it?

          If you live in a city there are thousands of HVAC systems that are very loud. Everybody wants quiet HVAC systems; and odorless restaurants; and ratless/roachless buildings. But ... for some strange reason we still have these problems.

          But you know the reason - it's evil industry that refuses to address these issues (evil data centers, evil restaurants, evil builders, evil building owners. They're all evil. Except for y
          • by afidel ( 530433 )

            Funny enough there IS a company that makes a (nearly) silent generator, Bloom Energy. Unfortunately they're several times the cost of a traditional standby generator ($7-8/W) so they really only make sense where electricity is expensive and there are incentives (California).

        • Re:NIMBY (Score:4, Informative)

          by pr0fessor ( 1940368 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:09AM (#50781121)

          A new generator would not be that loud but they are cost prohibitive which is why they buy older well maintained equipment when possible. We had a new generator installed at one of our facilities you could stand outside next to it and have a conversation with out raising your voice the truck that delivered diesel to the underground tanks was actually louder.

        • All of these challenges can and have been solved before. The problem is that it adds cost. Equinix has a nice facility in south San Jose that did a good job addressing potential sound concerns; it has 30' high precast concrete walls around the generator enclosure, places most of the mechanical equipment on the roof, but keeps noisy equipment on the far side of the building from residential areas. The facility pre-dates the need for Tier-4 emissions controls, and a few more things could have been done to

        • What noise? Have you ever BEEN to a datacenter? Outside their walls they are as quiet as a tomb. When you're standing across the street from a shopping mall you'll hear more ambient noise than a datacenter. Maybe the one or two weirdo builds that have their own generator for normal operations will make more noise but the vast majority will only kick in their generators if utility power fails, and again most are built with at least 2 separate grid feeds for redundancy.

          • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
            I don't know about you, but our noisy generators are tested weekly.
        • Its not just the noise, its thousands of gallons of fuel stored onsite, delivery of the fuel as well to run those generators. The risk should be zero to the community
          • I'm unsympathetic to the fuel issue. There's no objection to gas stations which have many, many, more fuel deliveries, and the same issues with fuel storage. I think the noise is fundamentally the only real issue here. As others point out in response, noise is a solved issue, it's just "expensive", and many data center builders want to have their cake and eat it, cheap set-up costs and cheap infrastructure/labor.

            They can't, unfortunately, have both. Not in a civilized society. Not in one where we value u

            • well the communities are winning, data center got its licance revoked and it looks like other are going to also. But thats Europe the corporation isn't god over thier. Looks like Privacy and people come before $$ good for them.
        • The whole point is that you build them far enough from where people live ("populated areas") so that they do not hear the generators, or will be impacted if the diesel tanks go up in flame. That does not mean you need to bulld them in the middle of nowhere.
      • by tomhath ( 637240 )
        Building it in a populated area means you also have the option of public transportation, shopping, housing, etc. for the employees. Put it out in the boondocks and people have a long commute.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        No that is the issue in Virgina they SHOULD build the data centers in the populated areas. The Entire I-95 corridor has all the infrastructure required to support them.

        Central and Western VA and West VA, have essentially the only large areas of unbroken forest left in the Mid Atlantic region.

        Everytime a power line or a pipe line has to go in to support one these projects its 100's of miles of a 75-foot wide cut across the landscape. Oh and the builders of these little projects always try to use eminent do

      • Populated areas have power and connectivity.

        Unpopulated areas... not so much.

    • I am sure many people can live without some things the modern life has to offer - things like fecesbook, twatter or hipstr.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @09:49AM (#50780543) Journal
    It was my understanding that, especially for comparatively low-margin-high-volume purposes, the virtues you looked for in a datacenter site were "Cheap land, cheap power, relatively easy to put a fence and some security around if needed".

    That seems like a set of requirements that would mostly encourage construction out in the sticks, where concerned neighbors are going to be few and moderately distant.

    I realize that there are some datacenters in densely settled areas(often grown up around historic telco and fiber infrastructure; or catering to businesses that want a colo they can check up on in short order if the need arises); but I'd always gotten the impression that those were relatively expensive boutique offerings, while the truly gargantuan 'stack-em-deep, sell-em-cheap' "cloud" and web-services stuff was much more cost sensitive.

    Am I substantially misinformed, and there are actually a lot of people trying to put a datacenter and some ghastly diesel generators in the middle of an urban neighborhood? Are these various concerned citizens mostly residents of thinly settled rural areas who want to continue enjoying the openness of a parcel of open land that they don't actually own?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That seems like a set of requirements that would mostly encourage construction out in the sticks, where concerned neighbors are going to be few and moderately distant.

      I for one don't want to live in the middle of Siberia just to have free cooling and cheap terrain. I may be a sysadmin, but I also like going to the movies, meeting friends and having a life.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fnj ( 64210 )

        I for one don't want to live in the middle of Siberia just to have free cooling and cheap terrain. I may be a sysadmin, but I also like going to the movies, meeting friends and having a life.

        OK. There are plenty of others who will take the job you spurn and live happily there.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:16AM (#50780715)
      I'm not familiar with where that particular one in Virginia is specifically, but it looks like Prince William County. I used to live/work near several out in Loudoun County, though. To give some perspective for those not familiar with the area, that's roughly two counties out from the District of Columbia proper. The western side of Loudoun is still farms and horse country, and the southern and western parts of Prince William are likewise. So we're likely not talking about heavily urbanized areas. At most, this is suburbs/exurbs.

      And I think that may be some of the problem. It's not just urbanites who object to stuff being built next to them. You can get the exact same thing from rural residents who don't like that their formerly rural area is having giant concrete buildings with lots of infrastructure built there. 50 years ago these counties were completely rural, but the DC suburbs have been expanding relentlessly westward, first to the edge of Fairfax County, and then on into Loudoun and Prince William. This has led to more than a few clashes between those who see this as a good thing, and those who don't.
      • From what I can gather on the Virginia one, the power company wants to run new lines through town on poles or out through the country on large towers. Running them through the down the main drag is the big issue. The new towers are the typical "take my land, I think not" problem. However, looking at the maps they provide, there are 5 golf courses in a town of a few thousand people.....
      • I live literally 500 yards from one of the proposed paths of the power lines. these lines would be on those MASSIVE power line towers. The line would sit on 100-foot-tall towers surrounded by 120-foot-wide cleared rights-of way. So who exactly wants to see these things from MILES away - when added to the fact I already deal daily with the price of progress in my daily commute with over an hour drive to work - really would like to not "it" when I am in my yard. There are a number of pathways that the p
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          You know, nothing can be proven "completely risk free." However, we can safely say "no known health issues have arisen to date with a great deal of historical evidence to support this claim." (At least, that's what they claim. I've not researched this. It's up to you to decide.) In sort, if you want completely risk free then you're shit out of luck - it doesn't, can't, and will never happen. Would that I could but I can't change it. Expecting it to be otherwise is just silly. Let your daughter get dirty, pl

    • by unrtst ( 777550 )

      ...and some ghastly diesel generators...

      I don't understand this.

      Maybe things have changed, but I used to work with several large data centers, and have also worked in many offices that also had diesel backup generators, and they were always out of the way (hidden behind fencing, or on the roof).

      It was also rare that they were used. They were tested periodically, but that was like 5 minutes of minor rumbling. In those places that weren't in downtown, you may notice it, but it didn't last long and it wasn't the most obnoxious thing you'd hear. In

      • But they also complained about POWER LINES!?!?! WTF?

        the Virginia complaints are about 100 ft tall powers lines on 120 wide cleared right of way. running literally through the town of Haymarket, VA or the 4 communities just outside the town limits.

      • But they also complained about POWER LINES!?!?! WTF?

        There are people out there that will complain about ANYTHING. Where I live, there is a proposal to build an aquatic recreation center in our neighborhood. This sounds great to me, and I would certainly use it. But there are a group of very active activists, using petitions and lawyers, trying to stop it. One of their complaints is that it would make the neighborhood nicer, thus raising home valuations, resulting in higher property taxes.

    • Data centers need high speed connections to the rest of the world, which usually means the Internet. While rural land is cheap, it doesn't have the high speed connections required. Therefore data centers will be located in cities, usually just off the city core, in the closest suburbs.
    • You forgot Cheap/Convenient redundant ultra-high-bandwidth, which tends to push things to be more urban.

    • by guruevi ( 827432 )

      Some datacenter may be able to do that. Most datacenter want to be close to financial or consumer hubs. Eg. Paris or NYC (Wall Street) or any other big city.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by RicktheBrick ( 588466 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:05AM (#50781095)

      I iive in Masn County, Michigan. A while back there were rumors that the state of Michigan was going to build a data center by the pumped storage plant that is located in the county. The hope was that after the state built a data center here, that others would follow. There are several good reasons why they should build there since there is power from the pumped storage plant and from 56 windmills also in the county.There is also cold water most of the year that is pumped out of Lake Michigan that possibly could be used to cool the data centers. As one can see by this article (http://www.shorelinemedia.net/ludington_daily_news/news/local/article_ae2bb37a-680f-11e3-a7b8-001a4bcf887a.html) that the project fell through. I believe we are still waiting to see if anything will be built. The point is that there are places that would welcome data centers in their backyard.

      • Rural data centers can be very hard to work with. Also, lake-effect snow can have a pretty big impact on electrical reliability. Very cold weather is not great for generators either, so you end up with a location that has high power risk and therefore high overall risk.

    • Not just cheap power - ideally, the big name datacenters want redundant feeds, just like hospitals do. Getting that level of service is far from a trivial exercise.

  • the large amount of diesel gas stored on site in a populated area? Not sure if that's actually a problem or not, since I don't know what they mean by 'large'. There's plenty of safe ways to store it (we have gas stations after all) but they're expensive and I'd worry about corner cutting. Then again I"m a yank and here in the states those kind of corners get cut all the time due to poor gov't oversight & lack of funding for the regulators.
    • Like the AC pointed out . . . poorly . . . "diesel gas" is a bad term. Diesel and gasoline are two different fuels, and the terms are mutually exclusive.

      That said, I agree with you about safety, even more so. Diesel is significantly safer to store than gasoline. It is significantly less volatile, and while the fumes from it can ignite, it is really difficult to get them to do so accidentally. Except in the presence of fertilizer, diesel is generally not explosive. While you can light a puddle of gasoli

  • by Ken D ( 100098 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @09:54AM (#50780577)

    The Internet is out there in the clouds!

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @09:55AM (#50780585)

    >> Community groups...voice their concerns

    You realize what the endgame is here, of course. It's to elevate the organizers to the point where they get paid to shut up (usually with no benefit to the community they claim to represent) as soon as they declare interest in a lucrative project.

    See Jesse Jackson for a great example of this. Lots of protesting, leading to little or no improvement in "his" community but instead large financial gains for himself and his family (e.g., beer distributorships for his sons).

    • So, are there any human social institutions that aren't actually a malignant scheme on the part of some puppetmaster; or would we be largely solitary if it weren't for the scamming opportunities?
      • Your question is sadly relevant. We create these huge powerful organizational structures (corporations, governments, religions, etc) without any thought of what might go wrong. And if you haven't had any experience in these large organizations, you could look at a number of studies suggesting that the top layers of these organizations are reserved for psychopaths, and people with some variety of anti-social disorders / no capacity for empathy. History suggests all these structures will eventually fail an
    • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:26AM (#50781273)

      >> Community groups...voice their concerns

      You realize what the endgame is here, of course. It's to elevate the organizers to the point where they get paid to shut up (usually with no benefit to the community they claim to represent) as soon as they declare interest in a lucrative project.

      See Jesse Jackson for a great example of this. Lots of protesting, leading to little or no improvement in "his" community but instead large financial gains for himself and his family (e.g., beer distributorships for his sons).

      That is not always true. My dad used to lead a community group for a section of town that covered about 10-15k people in a community of 100,000. The part of the community we lived in was often neglected by the rest of the city. We did not have a grocery store that was less than 15 minutes away by car without traffic. There was one park and no library. The city got its hands on something like 1000 acres of land in that area. My dad's group help ensured that part of that land was used to bring a library, a grocery store, and a new park to the local residents. The city just wanted to sell the land off to large multinational corporations. I spent a lot of time gathering signatures for petitions and other such things and I never saw my dad get so much as a coupon for all our hard work.

  • Serves them right.

  • Proximity is important just not that important. The smallest DC's I deal with are in commercial buildings at that's maybe 5k of raised floor. These building already much have generators since they have elevators. They are not so big they can not get ones that have good soundproofing. As far as fuel around here nearly everybody has a couple hundred gallons in their basement to run the furnace it's rather safe.

    Really isn't this a zoning issue datacenters at this scale should be in industrial space with established noise ordinances. It's realy not that hard to deal with noise leakage traditional methods work ok and some of the new but expensive ones do wonders.

    • It is pretty hard to accommodate 25-50kW/rack in a building that isn't purpose-built as a data center. It is pretty hard to get the economies of scale associated with 24x7 staffing under a certain size. These are the challenges that push small data centers out and into co-lo facilities.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      I've been to a large datacenter with the generators running, and it was still quieter than the street behind me. The complaints I see most are all the power lines. New power is almost all above ground, as it's quicker and cheaper to install. And it's that which gets many of the complaints.
  • Hmmm ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:15AM (#50780711) Homepage

    Data center site selection is often a secretive process, with cloud builders using codenames to cloak their identity.

    So, they basically make it impossible to know what is coming in, what the impact will be, and if you should be concerned.

    Yeah, that sounds awesome ... lie to everybody so you get approved, and then become really terrible neighbors once it's too late for people to have their say.

    Gee, I can't see at all why people would be angry about that.

    • Depends on who the neighbours are. Typically the neighbours are not the nice welcoming kind but rather the kind that leave you notes if you get stuck in traffic that say you didn't pull the bins back in by 6pm next time I'm calling the council on you. There's not a lot of incentive to give these idiots rope which they may use to hang you.

      • Re:Hmmm ... (Score:5, Informative)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:43AM (#50781395) Homepage

        Well, the article is making reference to giant 100+ foot towers, in wide-cleared rights-of-way, refusing to bury cables, and generally abusing the locals.

        And if that's how they want to do this, they should in no way be surprised when people oppose them.

        Bury the cables. Don't devalue people's property with giant transmission towers.

        But don't expect sympathy when you come in, hide who you are, underplay the impact, and crap all over the neighbors. That pretty much says "this company is ran by assholes who don't give a fuck about the locals".

        In which case communities are right to send a big giant "fuck you" back in return.

        • In which case communities are right to send a big giant "fuck you" back in return.

          Oh I'm not saying they're not. They have every right to. I'm saying that with any typically large development the community sends a large bag of "fuck you"s in regardless of what happens. From the company's perspective it's like talking to the police, the other party is not in any way operating with your best interests at heart.

  • In other words, they are using data centers in someone else's backyard. I find the hypocrisy of an activist is often proportional to their level of outrage.

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )
      It's hypocritical to use a well-situated resource to complain about a poorly-situated resource? Did you think your rant through?
      • by halivar ( 535827 )

        I'm reasonably sure they didn't check to make sure their Facebook posts used "well-situated" data centers before posting them.

    • by Proteus ( 1926 )

      Yes, hypocrisy. The world is black and white, and people should avoid using something that's less than desirable, even when it's their only option currently, to advocate replacing that thing with a superior thing.

      Advocates for eliminating wired networks for last mile should not use any; advocates for the telephone system should not have used the telegraph; advocates for reforming courts should not use them to effect change.

  • by puddingebola ( 2036796 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:23AM (#50780771) Journal
    It's not really any of the power or infrastructure issues. It's the unpleasant programmer demographic with their geeky T-shirts and poor social graces that come into the neighborhood. They pop up in the coffee shops talking in acronyms and babbling on and on about technical matters. The neighborhood wants them gone.
  • If your local greenies object to data centers (low danger/high pay modern infrastructure), I'm sure that Texas would love to have that business [battleswarmblog.com].

    If "community activists" want to drive high-paying jobs away, there's no shortage of locales with competent regulatory regimes that are happy to welcome new data center construction with open arms.

    • Reading the article, most of the protest is not always for environmental reasons. The Paris site was noisy due to the diesel generators and there is some concern over the diesel storage tanks.The Newark center was protested because it relied on a co-generation plant which would have emissions. Other sites have objections to the overhead transmission lines that would be required to build which is more of cosmetic problem. If the lines were buried (which are costlier) then there would be fewer objections.

      So i

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:35AM (#50780863) Journal

    People have been protesting power lines since they first started building them. (I remember the big hubub in the 70s about them causing cancer) Does it matter that it is connected to a data center? Maybe they should have mentioned that those lines could also have powered a 3D Printer.

    • Yes. High voltage power lines as described are unmistakable. Its like calling a proposed 8-lane interstate highway just a "road". Technically true, but substantially misleading.

  • by flink ( 18449 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:45AM (#50780941)

    I know the tone of this post is "look at these crazy luddites", but at least in the case of the Virginia group, it looks like all they are asking is the lines be run through existing rights of way such as rail lines or highways, rather than through residential neighborhoods. I don't think that sounds all that crazy, especially considering the negative impact high tension lines have on nearby property.

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:10AM (#50781129) Homepage

      Yeah, bury your cables, don't put towers over people's houses, don't ask us for property for your data center ... not treating the people near you like shit isn't unreasonable at all.

      Don't come in all secret like, hide who you really are, and choose a way to do it which impacts the people who live there any more than you need to.

      When billion dollar corporations want to act like assholes to save a few bucks, they get no sympathy when people get pissed off at them. People don't want to be abused so multi-billion dollar corporations can do their data center as cheap as possible and piss off the neighbors.

      Spinning this like "boo hoo, the poor companies can't build data centers" is complete bullshit. Stop treating neighborhoods like ugly industrial sites and have some respect. Maybe they'll even be supportive.

  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @10:52AM (#50780973)

    The people promoting the Delaware data center lied to everyone at nearly every possible opportunity, which is why it was so easy to rouse the community against them.

    For example, they claimed that their data center would employ lots of local people, when this simply wasn't true. The whole place was going to be nearly lights-out - there'd probably be as many janitors as technicians.

    They also misstated the entire purpose of the plant - the so-called data center was always a trojan horse intended to allow them to gain exemptions from zoning laws and secure taxpayer funds to build a noisy, polluting power plant in a totally unsuitable location. That power plant was purposely outsized for the data center in the original plan, and more than doubled in size after it'd gained its initial approvals, and probably would have been built even bigger given the size of the property they were going to put it on. The intention was always to use tax dollars to undercut existing energy providers and sell electricity to local citizens and businesses, the data center was never anything but a front operation.

    How do I know all this? Well, I do live here, and I have built three data centers professionally. The whole thing was a total con job from start to finish. That's the reality, and the University of Delaware's investigation revealed this and caused them to withdraw their support from the project (the other backers withdrew their support only because public outcry was calling attention to the many secret side deals they'd made with the power plant builders, that are protected by non-disclosure contracts).

    I can't comment on Paris or other places where similar things have happened; maybe those data centers were real. The Delaware one was a power plant disguised as a data center and the people proposing it were liars and con men who were trying to loot the public tax coffers.

  • by fnj ( 64210 )

    Poor dear little things. Little self-absorbed, self-important pampered professional objectors. Living on Cape Cod, I know this type well. They have fought the Cape Wind offshore wind power project to a halt for 15 years where it is now all but dead because they don't want to see the towers way off on the horizon from their precious beach houses. They manufactured other reasons, but it was their personal slice of heaven they were jealously guarding. There was one real objection, which had they concentrated o

  • Our government would happily accept their bribe
  • In Virginia.... (Score:4, Informative)

    by DewDude ( 537374 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @11:56AM (#50781507)
    the people largely don't want *another* HV power feed running through thier area/property; at least not one that exists solely for commercial use. This issue is actually somewhat local to me; and the residents of the area have always been at odd with "big power"...simply because of the greed. What starts as a right-of-way for one power line soon becomes a single right of way for multiple lines; the property owners haven't been reimbursed for the now extra stuff on their property. Plus, as much as I'm not a person who says no to towers or utility lines...the situation they've got going on over there is getting pretty bad.

    The biggest issue is it's going in to serve *one* customer; it has no overall benefit to the residents of the area; and this is after a power company already abusing exsiting contracts and promises. They've seen zero benefit from the result of this growth.

    I can tell you this though; if the local electric co-op wanted to put the line in; there'd be almost no opposition. The co-op would also fairly compensate everyone while engineering the line to serve the demands of the customer; but as well as all the customers running along this new line.

    But it's basically someone coming up to you "I'm putting a fence across your property so I can make more money. It doesn't benefit you in any way...and I will essentially have the land on the other side of the fence. I'm not going to pay you for it either." There's no middle ground, there's no working with them; it's "this is what we're putting in, you will have no input in to how it looks and we're not even going to compensate the piece of property we're over..and we'll probably force you to maintain the property around our equipment as well."
    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      Maybe they should splice off the lines and offer industrial priced power to the locals? That might help.

  • by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Thursday October 22, 2015 @01:39PM (#50782441)

    Community groups are using social media, blogs, research and media outreach to bring public attention to the process and voice their concerns

    So they are utilizing services provided by data centers while protesting data centers. Brilliant.

I've got a bad feeling about this.

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